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How to Transform Your Daily Commute Into Learning a Language

Learn a language during your commute!

Today, classrooms are no longer the only or even best place to learn a new language like Japanese. More and more people are finding that they can easily learn a language just about anywhere they have a few minutes of spare time, including their daily commute to work. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American spends over 50 minutes a day commuting to and from work, or over 300 hours a year.

Rethinking Your Daily Commute to Work

But rather than simply sitting in traffic and wasting the time, you can instead use your daily commute to literally learn Japanese in just a few short months! JapanesePod101 has developed specialized learning tools that you can use on your commute to work (and home again) to master the language in your spare time. Keep reading to learn how to get your free audiobook to use on your next commute so you can see for yourself how easy it is to transform “dead time” into realizing your dream of learning a new language!

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But before we look at how to transform your commute home into a mini-classroom, let’s take a closer look at 4 reasons why traditional classroom settings just aren’t the best option for most people in today’s fast-paced world.

  • Difficulty Getting to and From Class
  • Learning on Someone Else’s Schedule
  • Very Expensive and May Cost $1,000’s to Complete
  • Can Take Years to Finally Complete Classes and Learn the Language

The simple truth is that traditional classroom instruction is simply not a viable option for most people in today’s very fast-paced, time-starved world. Now let’s examine how you can learn a language faster, more easily, and at far less expense than traditional classes—all during your commute to work and back home again!

Bus

3 Reasons Your Daily Commute Can Help You Master a Language

1. The Average Commute Time is More than 300 Hours Per Year

Between the commute to work and getting back home again, over 6 hours a week is completely wasted and not helping you reach any goals or objectives. But thanks to online language learning platforms with audiobooks and other resources that you can access during your commute, you can easily transform wasted time into tangible progress towards learning a new language. With over 300 hours available annually, your daily commute could provide you with enough time to literally master a new language each and every year!

2. Increase Your Earning Potential While Commuting to Work

How would you like to transform all those spare commuting hours each week into more money for a new car, house, or even a dream vacation? According to research, someone making $30,000 per year can boost their annual income by $600 or more per year by learning a second language. Added up over the course of a lifetime, you can boost your total earnings by $70,000 or more while achieving your dream of learning a new language during your daily commute!

How? From work-at-home translation jobs to working overseas, there are many ways to leverage your second language into more money in your bank account! So instead of wasting your precious time, you can make your commute more productive and profitable and the more languages you learn, the higher your income potential.

3. Repetition is Key to Mastering a New Language

Not sure if it’s practical to learn another language while commuting to and from work each day? Well not only is it possible—learning in your car on the way to and from work each day can actually help you learn and master Japanese or any language much faster! The simple truth is that repetition is absolutely vital to truly internalizing and mastering any language. So, if you listen to audiobooks or even audio lessons on your commute to work and then repeat the same lesson on your commute home, the information is more likely to be “locked-in” to your long-term memory!

Learning

5 Ways JapanesePod101 Makes It Easy to Learn a Language On Your Commute

JapanesePod101 has been helping people just like yourself learn and master Japanese in the comfort of their home, during their daily commute, or any place they have a few minutes of spare time. Here are five features provided by JapanesePod101 that make it easy to learn a new language while commuting to and from work:

1. The Largest Collection of Audio Lessons on Planet by Native Speaking Instructors
Every single week, JapanesePod101 creates new audio lessons by native speaking instructors. All lessons are short, to the point, and guaranteed to improve your mastery of Japanese.

2. Word of the Day
Simply exposing yourself to new information and vocabulary terms helps increase your fluency and mastery of Japanese. So every single day, JapanesePod101 adds a new Word of the Day for you to learn and memorize during your commute.

3. Daily Dose Mini-Lessons
Have a short commute to work but still want to make progress towards learning and mastering Japanese? Not a problem! Our Daily Dose Mini-Lessons are 1-minute or less and designed to improve your grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

4. All Content Available on a Convenient Mobile App
You don’t need a PC or tablet to learn Japanese during your daily commute. At JapanesePod101, all of our lessons, tools, and resources are available 24/7 via our Mobile App. That means you can access all of our audio lessons and other tools during your commute to work or any time you have a few spare moments!

5. Audiobooks and Other Supplemental Resources
In addition to the world’s largest online collection of HD audio lessons, JapanesePod101 has also created several audiobooks to enhance your understanding and make it more convenient than ever to learn a language during your commute!

Conclusion

The average commute time of most Americans is over 300 hours each year and it’s the perfect opportunity to learn and master a new language. In fact, you can use the “dead time” during your daily commute to learn a new language and potentially boost your lifetime earnings by up to $70,000 or more! Whatever your motivation, JapanesePod101 has the tools and resources necessary to help you learn a new language each year during your commute to and from work. Act now and we’ll even provide you with a free audiobook to try out on your next commute!

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How to Say Hello in Japanese: Practical Japanese Greetings

How to Say Hello in Japanese

Greetings are the most important things to learn when learning a new language. Japanese greetings are not only words of greeting, but also reflect the very Japanese culture, much more so than in other languages. Have you heard of the cultural features of Japanese politeness?

Yes, it’s also embedded in the language. The Japanese language has the formal and informal styles, and the formal style is even divided into three honorific languages with different levels of politeness. So in short, you’ll also learn the Japanese culture by learning how to say hello in Japanese.

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The Japanese language also has particular greetings only used for particular occasions, such as on the phone, at work places, in the service sector at restaurants and shops, etc. We use appropriate words depending on the occasion and who we’re speaking to.

Learning the cultural aspects makes it easier to understand and learn the language faster.

Let’s get started with learning Japanese greetings and the specifics of greeting people in Japanese here and on JapanesePod101.com!

1. Formal Japanese Greetings

Formal Japanese greetings are very convenient to use because these are said in a polite manner and
you can use them for most occasions, and to everyone. Here are some Japanese formal greetings.

1-Kon’nichiwa — こんにちは — (Hello) [formall and semi-formal]

Kon’nichiwa is the most common and classic word for saying hello in Japanese. The term kon’nichi literally means “today” traditionally, and wa stands for “is,” or it indicates the main subject of a sentence. Back in time, when people met someone, they would start a conversation by saying konnichi wa ii hi desu ne (“Today is a nice day”) or kon’nichi wa ikaga desu ka (“How is today?”). Over time, the phrase became shorter and now Kon’nichiwa is the first word to greet nowadays.

Kon’nichiwa is used in both formal and semi-informal occasions. It would sound a little awkward to say konnichiwa to your very close friends. Also keep in mind that it’s usually only used during the day time, between morning and evening.

Example:

  • Kon’nichiwa, o-genki desu ka.
  • こんにちは、お元気ですか。
  • Hello, how are you?

2- Hajimemashite — はじめまして— (Nice to meet you) [formal]

Hajimemashite is used when you meet someone for the first time to say, “Nice to meet you” in Japanese. This greeting term derives from a polite conjugation of the verb 始める (hajimeru), which literally means “to begin” or “to start.” In greeting, Hajimemashite means to start knowing someone new or to start a new relationship with someone. Essentially, it’s a good way to introduce yourself in Japanese.

This term is formal and can be used for any occasion. For a very official occasion, there’s another way to say “Nice to meet you,” more politely and with respect: お会いできて光栄です。(O-ai dekite kōei desu.)

Example:

  • Hajimemashite, watashi wa Naomi desu.
  • はじめまして、私はなおみです。
  • Nice to meet you, I am Naomi.

Japanese Greetings

3- Ohayō gozaimasu — おはようございます — “Good morning” [formal]

Ohayō gozaimasu is the morning greeting to say “good morning” in Japanese. Ohayō comes from the word はやい (hayai) which means “early” and the O in front makes the following word polite. Gozaimasu is the very polite word used to end a sentence, meaning “it is” or “there is/are.”

This is used in both formal and semi-informal occasions in the morning before noon.

Example:

  • Ohayō gozaimasu. O-genki desu ka.
  • おはようございます。お元気ですか。
  • Good morning. How are you?

4- Konbanwa — こんばんは — (Good evening) [formal]

Konbanwa literally means “This evening is.” Like Kon’nichiwa, back in time, when people met someone in the evening, they would begin a conversation by saying Konbanwa ii yoru desu ne (“This evening is a good night”). This shortened to Konbanwa which became the normal greeting word.

This greeting is formal and used in any occasion that takes place in the evening and at night.

Example:

  • Konban-wa. Saumi desu ne.
  • こんばんは。寒いですね。
  • Good evening. It is cold, isn’t it?

5- O-genki desu ka. — お元気ですか。— (How are you?) [formal]

This is how to say “how are you” in Japanese and it’s a very useful phrase to start a conversation with. The O is the polite emphasizing word, genki means “in good shape,” and desu ka is the polite word to put at the end of a question. It means, “Are you in good shape?”

This is a formal and semi-formal greeting and can be used any time after meeting someone new, whether it be colleagues, neighbours, acquaintances, etc.

Example:

  • A: O-genki desu ka.
  • B: Hai, genki desu.
  • A: お元気ですか。
  • B: はい、元気です。
  • A: How are you (are you in good shape)?
  • B: Yes, I’m good.

6- O-hisashiburi desu. — お久しぶりです。— (Long time no see) [formal]

O-hisashiburi desu is a good phrase to say when you meet someone you haven’t seen in quite a while. Hisashiburi means “after a while” and O makes it polite. Desu is the word used to end a polite sentence.

This greeting is used in both formal and semi-informal settings.

Example:

  • O-hisashiburi desu. O-genki desu ka.
  • お久しぶりです。お元気ですか。
  • Long time no see. How are you?

7- Sayōnara — さようなら — (Good bye) [formal]

Sayōnara is probably one of the most famous Japanese greeting words as it’s sometimes used even in Hollywood movies to say “goodbye.” Sayōnara is the short version of Sayō naraba which means, “If that’s the way it is.” Back in time, when people departed from another person, they summed up conversations by saying Sayō naraba and and then finished talking and left. It became the phrase for “goodbye.”

Sayōnara is a formal but relatively more semi-formal phrase. If you’re looking for a more casual way of saying goodbye to close friends, you can say just bai bai (“bye bye”), which is the Japanese spelling for the English word.

Example:

  • Sayōnara. O-ki o tsukete.
  • さようなら。お気をつけて。
  • Good bye. Please take care.

8- Mata aimashō — また会いましょう — (See you again) [formal]

Mata aimashō literally translates as follows: mata = “again” and aimashō = ”let’s meet.”

This phrase is used in formal and semi-formal occasions. It’s the useful Japanese greeting word that’s used after saying goodbye to someone, whether you’ll actually meet this person again in the future or not. It gives off the good impression that you’re willing to meet this person again.

Example:

  • Sayōnara. Mata aimashō.
  • さようなら。また会いましょう。
  • Good bye. See you again.

Boy Saying Hello

2. Informal Japanese Greetings

Wondering how to say “hello” in Japanese casually? When you greet your family, friends, or someone else you’re close to, an informal style of greeting is better suited! Saying hello in informal Japanese makes it sound more friendly, familiar, and amiable. However, please note that it’s considered very rude to use these greetings when addressing elderly people or someone well-respected, especially in formal settings.

1- Ohayō — おはよう— (Good morning) [informal]

This is a casual version of Ohayō gozaimasu and is used to say good morning in Japanese.

Ohayō is an informal phrase used to greet your family, close friends, girlfriend/boyfriend, and so on.

Example:

  • Ohayō. Mada nemui.
  • おはよう。まだ眠い。
  • Good morning. I’m still sleepy.

2- Genki? — 元気?— (How are you?) [informal]

Genki? is just the shortened phrase for O-genki desu ka, which makes it a very casual way to say “how are you?” in Japanese. This is a very handy word to greet someone close to you.

This greeting is used in informal settings and is suitable to use for casual and quick interactions with your close friends.

Example:

  • Genki? Kawari nai?
  • 元気?変わりない?
  • How are you? Are you all good?

3- Saikin dō? — 最近どう?— (What’s up? / How is it going recently?) [informal]

Saikin dō? is a very casual phrase to say “What’s up?” in Japanese. Saikin means “recently” and translates to “how?”

This term is used in informal and very casual occasions to greet someone very close to you. If you want to use it in a more formal setting, you just add desu ka at the end: Saikin dō desu ka.

Example:

  • Saikin dō? Kanojo to junchō?
  • 最近どう?彼女と順調?
  • What’s up. Are you doing well with your girlfriend?

4- Hisashiburi — 久しぶり — (It’s been a while!) [informal]

As you can see, Hisashiburi is just the shorter version of O-hisashiburi desu, lacking the words of O and desu, which make the phrase polite.

Hisashiburi is an informal greeting word and is a very common way to say “hello” when you see someone again after it’s been a while. Especially for old friends and someone close to you.

Example:

  • Hisashiburi! Aitakatta!
  • 久しぶり!会いたかった!
  • It’s been a while! I wanted to see you!

Say Hello On The Phone

3.How to Say Hello on the Phone in Japanese

If you’re wondering how to say hello in Japanese when answering the phone, keep reading. When you say “hello” in Japanese on the phone, you shouldn’t jump straight to Kon’nichiwa. Before saying Kon’nichiwa, you should say the following phrase.

Moshi moshi — もしもし— (Hello)

This phrase is how to say “hello” on the phone in Japanese. This comes from the Japanese verb mōsu which means “to say” in a humble and polite way.

Moshi moshi is usually only used on the phone, whether you’re calling or answering the phone.

Example:

  • Moshi moshi, watashi wa Tanaka desu. Suzuki-san wa imasu ka.
  • もしもし、私は田中です。鈴木さんはいますか。
  • Hello? I am Tanaka. Is Mr. Suzuki there?

Smart Phone Message

4. Japanese Greetings for Various Occasions (Very Japanese Expressions)

Here are the very Japanese greetings to say hello for particular occasions. These greatly reflect the Japanese culture.

1- Otsukare-sama desu — お疲れ様です— (Well done / see you, bye / other) [formal]

Otsukare-sama desu actually has some different meanings, all of which are handy to use. As mentioned above, O and desu make the phrase polite. Tsukare is literally translated as “tiredness” and sama is the most respectful way to refer to someone or something. The Japanese use this expression when they want to show their appreciation for the other person’s efforts and works with respect.

Otsukare-sama desu is a formal term and is a very useful phrase to use when it comes to work-related occasions. It can be used to say “well done” or “good job” to praise or to be thankful for someone who finished something. You can also use it to say “you must be tired” to show that you care for someone and understand how they feel. Or it can simply be used as a greeting at an office when you arrive and leave, meet colleagues, and pass each other in the office. Nowadays, Otsukare-sama desu is one of the most common ways to say “hello” in Japanese in the work setting, especially among colleagues.

Examples:

  • Otsukare-sama desu. Purezen wa totemo yokatta desu.
    • お疲れ様です。プレゼンはとても良かったです。
    • Well done. The presentation was very good.
  • Otsukare-sama desu. Mata ashita.
    • お疲れ様です。また明日。
    • See you tomorrow.

2- Irasshaimase — いらっしゃいませ — (Welcome) [formal]

You may not have the opportunity to use Irasshaimase yourself, but you’ll definitely hear this many times whenever you go to the store or a restaurant in Japan. This phrase comes from the honorific form of the Japanese verb irrassharu which means “to come.” Japanese service sectors are very keen on treating customers and guests with great politeness and respect.

Irasshaimase is formal and is usually only used in stores or restaurants to greet and welcome customers and guests. This is how to say “hello” in Japanese in the service sector.

Example:

  • Irasshaimase. Nanmei-sama desu ka.
  • いらっしゃいませ。何名様ですか。
  • Welcome. How many are you? (at a restaurant)

How to Learn Japanese Greetings Easily and Fast

As we’ve seen, there are so many variations of how to say “hello” in Japanese, and all of these Japanese greetings reflect Japanese culture.

The best thing that you can do to learn the Japanese language easier and faster is to listen carefully when Japanese greetings are used, when and where, and who greets whom. You can also grasp the tips we’ve provided for you here and use them in your actual practice.

Whether you’re traveling to Japan or communicating with Japanese people online, these important and practical Japanese greeting vocabulary will make it easier for you to make new friends!

We hope you find this article educational and that you enjoy learning Japanese greetings! Now go out and practice how to introduce yourself in Japanese!

Young Student Sitting In The Table

How Japanesepod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

If you’d like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

We also have many videos you can enjoy learning the Japanese language with and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation. If you’re keen on how to read and write Japanese, which consists of three alphabets (hiragana, katakana, and kanji), you can learn more about basic Japanese, Daily Japanese Conversations, Japanese Phrases for Beginners, Japanese gestures, and much more. Please visit our website for a fun learning experience!

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Seijin No Hi: Celebrate Japanese Coming of Age Day in Japan

Learning about the different holidays in Japan is a great step in better understanding Japan’s culture. This is because Japanese holidays and traditions offer both insight into the country’s past and values, as well as opportunities to learn the language itself more efficiently. (Because context can mean everything!)

In particular, Coming of Age Day in Japan holds great value to the country’s youth and elderly alike. This is a day to celebrate all of those Japanese youth who have turned 20 years old, Japan’s legal age of adulthood.

In addition to celebrating this momentous occasion in every Japanese adult’s life, this day is also designed to encourage them to be the best adults they can be.

Despite the fact that what was once one of the most popular Japanese holidays is losing momentum, many people still hold to this holiday’s traditions in Japan.

Learn more about this monumental day in the lives of young Japanese adults, including vocabulary and information about the Coming of Age Ceremony in Japan, with JapanesePod101.com.

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1. Why Should You Know About Coming of Age Day?

Coming of Age Day in Japan is an exciting day for the country’s youth, and is celebrated throughout Japan. This day is a reflection of Japan’s culture in that it promotes the wellbeing and success of those who have officially become adults.

The passage from childhood to adulthood is important in Japanese culture (as it is around the world!), and in Japan this happens at the age of 20. As one of the most significant public holidays in Japan, there are some interesting holiday traditions in Japan for recognizing it.

Learn more about Japanese Coming of Age Day and its significance to the Japanese people!

2. What is Coming of Age Day in Japan?

Young People Celebrating Coming of Age Day

On Japanese Coming of Age Day (or Seijin no hi), Japan celebrates its youth who have turned 20 years old—the age which signifies official adulthood. And this is no minor celebration; it’s celebrated openly across the country, and is one of the most popular Japanese holidays.

This day is marked by the Coming of Age Ceremony, during which town officials around Japan hold celebrations for these new adults to welcome them into adulthood.

3. When is it?

The Month of January

Japanese Coming of Age Day takes place on the second Monday of January each year. For your convenience, here’s a quick list of the date of this holiday for the next ten years:

  • 2019: January 14
  • 2020: January 13
  • 2021: January 11
  • 2022: January 10
  • 2023: January 9
  • 2024: January 8
  • 2025: January 13
  • 2026: January 12
  • 2027: January 11
  • 2028: January 10

4. How is it Celebrated?

1- Coming of Age Ceremony

On this day, the most important celebration is a Coming of Age Ceremony; one of these ceremonies takes place in various regions of Japan. All those who’ve turned 20 years old attend and are granted congratulations by town officials, as well as given a souvenir to remember the event by.

These ceremonies also serve as an opportunity for the new Japanese adults to step up and show their maturity. It’s common for there to be a “representative” participant at these ceremonies, who gives a speech on behalf of each new Japanese adult. Oftentimes, these speeches contain promises of growing to become good and successful people, as well as hope for the future.

Another special feature of the Coming of Age Ceremony is that participants from the previous year are also welcomed to attend. This not only allows the new adults to see their older friends and acquaintances; it also gives the older visitors the opportunity to cheer on their younger friends and reflect on their own Coming of Age Ceremony the year before.

2- Dress

It’s common for the young people to dress up in nice traditional clothing, particularly the young women who wear a 振袖 (ふりそで) or “furisode,” which is a special type of kimono. Men tend to opt for a suit and tie themselves, but on occasion will choose to wear a kimono with a 袴 (はか)
or “hakama,” which are like loose-fitting trousers.

3- Food and Fun

After the ceremonies are over, some of the young people choose to spend time partying with their close friends and family. Oftentimes, they go out drinking and enjoy eating 赤飯 (せきはん),
or “sekihan,” which is a popular dish with rice and red beans often associated with holidays and special events.

Despite recent changes in the holiday (namely: lesser participation among youths and lowered age of maturity to 18 soon to take effect), it remains a significant day in the lives of many new adults and their families.

5. Must-Know Vocab for Coming of Age Day

Sekihan, A Popular Rice and Bean Dish

Now that you’ve learned more about Japanese Coming of Age Day, let’s delve into some vocabulary you should know to celebrate this Japanese holiday to its fullest!

  • スーツ (スーツ)
    • English Translation: Suit
  • 袴 (はか)
    • English Translation: Hakama (loose-fitting trousers sometimes worn by young men on this day)
  • 成人の日 (せいじんのひ)
    • English Translation: Coming of Age Day
  • 振袖 (ふりそで)
    • English Translation: Furisode (a special kimono worn by females on this day)
  • 二十歳 (はたち)
    • English Translation: Twenty years old
  • お祝い (おいわい)
    • English Translation: Celebration
  • 成人式 (せいじんしき)
    • English Translation: Coming of age ceremony
  • 赤飯 (せきはん)
    • English Translation: Sekihan (a dish with rice and red beans)
  • 1月の第2月曜日 (いちがつの だいにげつようび)
    • English Translation: The second Monday of January
  • 新成人 (しんせいじん)
    • English Translation: New adult
  • 羽織 (はおり)
    • English Translation: Haori coat (a type of coat worn on top of a kosode)

If you want to learn how to pronounce these words, be sure to check out our Japanese Coming of Age Day word list. Here, you can find audio pronunciations along with each word to help you better learn them.

Conclusion

Now you have a greater knowledge of Japanese Coming of Age Day, including the most important vocabulary for you to know.

If you want to learn even more about Japanese culture, be sure to visit JapanesePod101.com! We have an array of helpful tools to help you learn Japanese efficiently and in an entertaining manner. These include vocabulary lists, blog posts on various Japanese topics, and our MyTeacher app which gives you access to one-on-one training as you learn Japanese.

We hope you found this article helpful, and that you enjoy your Coming of Age Day celebration in Japan!

Blood Type Personality in Japan: What It Says about You

If you have ever visited Japan or stayed in Japan for quite some time, you have probably noticed that a lot of Japanese people ask “what is your blood type?”. This question is one of the most common questions that Japanese people ask. In Japan, it is perfectly fine to ask about a person’s blood type, especially if you want to get to know someone very well instantly, in particular, on a blind date. The reason is that Japanese people believe that each blood type has its own distinct personality and it is the quickest way to determine a person’s temperament and even compatibility with others. You may feel confused as to why people ask about blood types in Japan, but don’t worry. If you are asked this by a Japanese, that means that the person wants to get to know you better.

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So who developed this concept? The blood type personality theory was developed by a Japanese person named Masahiko Nomi who graduated from the University of Tokyo. He began his first career as a journalist and his first book “Understanding Affinity by Blood Type” became a bestseller in the 1970s. The idea then spread outward and it is popular in some Asian countries, such as South Korea and Taiwan. You are probably wondering, ‘so what’s this all about?’, so let’s have a look at the description of each blood type to see if it matches with your personality. Then let’s look at the compatibility of blood types.

Blood Type A

1. Blood Type A

According to the Japanese blood type personality chart, it is said that people with blood type A are known to be diplomatic and friendly, however due to their sensitive natures, they prefer staying alone to being in a group; therefore they may feel uncomfortable in crowded areas or parties. Also, they are fragile-hearted and easily get hurt, therefore it takes time for them to open up to people. Others may take this negatively and view them as snobs, since people with blood type A are good at hiding their feelings and do not express themselves a lot compared to other blood types such as blood type B or O. If you want to be friends with a person with Blood Type A, the best way is to be patient and get to know them slowly. Once you get to know them you will find that they are very friendly and down to earth! Also, they are punctual and always expect the best results in everything they do, therefore others seem them as perfectionists. When people describe blood type A, you will often hear:

A型は、几帳面で細かいそうです。
Aがたは、きちょうめんでこまかいそうです。
A-gata wa, kichōmen de komakai sō desu.
“People with type A blood are earnest and sensitive.”

Blood Type A Personality in Japanese

  • 几帳面 (きちょうめん, kichōmen) = “methodical”
  • 慎重 (しんちょう, shinchō) = “cautious”
  • こだわりが強い (こだわりがつよい, kodawari ga tsuyoi) = “stubborn”
  • 細かい (こまかい, komakai) = “detailed”

Blood Type Compatibility for A

  • The best blood type compatibility is O, followed by A.
  • The worst blood type compatibility is B.

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Blood Type B

2. Blood Type B

According to the Japanese blood type personality chart, it is said that B types are the most outgoing compared to other blood types. Also they are independent and are passionate about the things that they are interested in. Type Bs always seek stimulation and they are not afraid of speaking their minds. Therefore, they can be seen as self-centered because they express their opinion, regardless of what the other person might feel.

In Japan, men with blood type B have a negative reputation for being playboys and for not suitable for a stable relationship. But don’t worry, although blood type B has a negative reputation for being the blood type of playboys, there are many positive traits too. They are curious, honest and enjoy attention, therefore people with blood type B can make friends easily, like a social butterfly! When people describe blood type B, you will often hear:

B型は、創造的で楽観的なようです。
Bがたは、そうぞうてきでらっかんてきなようです。
B-gata wa, sōzōteki de rakkanteki na yō desu.
“People with blood type B are creative and optimistic.”

Blood Type B Personality in Japanese

  • 創造的 (そうぞうてき, sōzōteki) “creative”
  • 楽観的 (らっかんてき, rakkanteki) “optimistic”
  • 利己的 (りこてき, rikoteki) “selfish”
  • 無責任 (むせきにん, musekinin) “irresponsible”

Blood Type Compatibility for B

  • The best blood type compatibility is AB, followed by O.
  • The worst blood type compatibility is A.

Blood Type O

3. Blood Type O

They are known to be energetic, practical and friendly. Also blood type O is labeled as a natural leader. They are experts at expressing their opinions in a constructive way, making sure that everyone listens to them, while still being friendly to everyone. They know how to control their emotions very well, giving others a great impression of being stable and under control. Research indicates that blood type O is the most prefered blood type by CEOs and coworkers because of the traits mentioned above. However, although they might have a reputation of being strong outside, they are very sensitive inside. People with blood type O have some difficulties expressing their feelings due to a fear of rejection and also they tend to burn themselves out trying to get things done perfectly. The best way to describe type Os in Japanese is:

O型の人は情熱的だと言われています。
Oがたのひとはじょうねつてきだといわれています。
Ō-gata no hito wa jōnetsuteki da to iwarete imasu.
“It’s said that people with type O blood are passionate.”

Blood Type O Personality in Japanese

  • おおらか(おおらか, ōraka) = “easygoing”
  • 社交的 (しゃこうてき, shakōteki) = “outgoing”
  • 高慢 (こうまん, kōman) = “arrogant”
  • 嫉妬深い (しっとぶかい, shittobukai) = “jealous”

Blood Type Compatibility for O

  • The best blood type compatibility is A, followed by B.
  • The worst blood type compatibility is AB.

Subscribe to JapanesePod101 today to receive ‘Japanese Word of the Day’ in your email inbox. This is a perfect way for beginners to learn Japanese words everyday.

Blood Type AB

4. Blood Type AB

They are the most interesting type compared to the others because this blood type is labeled as either genius or psycho. They are unpredictable because they often jump around from one activity to the next and their temperament is mixture of blood type A and B, therefore their personalities change quickly depending on their mood and the situation, and sometimes they don’t have control over it. Also type ABs are rational thinkers, therefore they cannot stand it when they find some situations to be irrational. As a result, they may have some difficulties interacting with people, giving others the wrong impression of being moody or two-faced. One of the ways to describe blood type ABs is:

日本でAB型の人は少ないです。
にほんでABがたのひとはすくないです。
Nihon de ĒBī-gata no hito wa sukunai desu.
“We don’t have many people with the AB blood type in Japan.”

Blood Type AB Personality in Japanese

  • 合理的 (ごうりてき, gōriteki) = “rational”
  • 才能がある (さいのうがある, sainō ga aru) = “to be talented”
  • 批判的 (ひはんてき, hihanteki) = “critical”
  • 風変わり (ふうがわり, fūgawari) = “eccentric”

Blood Type Compatibility for AB

  • The best blood type compatibility is AB, followed by B.
  • The worst blood type compatibility is O.

Now, let’s have a look at few useful Japanese sentences which you can use right away.

Talking about Blood Type

5. Talking about Your Blood Type in Japanese

“What’s your blood type?”

  • Informal: (あなたの)血液型は何型? ((あなたの)けつえきがたはなにがた? Anata no ketsueki-gata wa nani-gata?)
  • Formal: (あなたの)血液型は何型ですか。 ((あなたの)けつえきがたはなにがたですか。 Anata no ketsueki-gata wa nani-gata desu ka.)

“My blood type is…”:

  • Informal: 私の血液型は、…。 (わたしのけつえきがたは、…。 Watashi no ketsueki-gata wa, … )
  • Formal: 私の血液型は、…です。 (わたしのけつえきがたは、…です。 Watashi no ketsueki-gata wa, … desu.)

Example:

A: なおこの血液型は何型?
A: (なおこのけつえきがたはなにがた? Naoko no ketsueki-gata wa nani-gata?)
A: “What’s Naoko’s blood type?”

B: なおこの血液型は、O型。
B: (なおこのけつえきがたは、Oがた。, Naoko no ketsueki-gata wa, O-gata.)
B: “Naoko’s blood type is O.”

Tokyo

6. How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn more Japanese

You’ve learned some secret Japanese blood type personalities with useful Japanese phrases to describe your blood type personality.

To sum up, we had a look at each blood type and its personality and temperament, and blood type compatibility for each type. Do you think that they are true? Also, do you know how to describe your personality in Japanese? JapanesePod101 has prepared a list of useful Japanese adjectives to describe your personality for you to study. It is available online, so feel free to download it for free.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Master A Language!

So next time you run into a Japanese person and want to understand their personality quickly, why not ask a simple question, like:

血液型は何型ですか。
ketsueki-gata wa nani-gata desu ka.
“What is your blood type?”

JapanesePod101 has many vocabulary lists available on our website for you to download for free. Why don’t you prepare a self-introduction, including your blood type and your personality in Japanese? Click “10 Lines You Need for Introducing Yourself” to learn practical phrases in Japanese.

Thank you and we hope that you enjoy learning Japanese!

8 Tips for a Solo Japan Trip

Solo Japan Trip

The Land of the Rising Sun is by far one of the most rewarding places for a solo adventure. Crammed into the island nation is old-world architecture, delicious food, stunning metropolises, incredible nature, and a culture unlike any other. Even though you’ve likely heard the adage “happiness is only real when shared,” we politely request that you disregard that: here are eight tips to ensure your first solo trip is filled with happiness.

Learn Some Basic Japanese Phrases

Learning Japanese

Although English (Eigo) is taught in most public and private schools throughout the country, everyday people are not usually well-equipped to have a full conversation. Japanese people are extremely helpful and will go out of their way to help, but just know that the language barrier is very often there. Things are manageable in the urban centers, but if you plan on heading out to the countryside, communication becomes increasingly difficult.

Knowing this, one of the best things you can do prior to your trip is to learn some basic Japanese phrases. There are plenty of apps out there, but JapanesePod101 is an excellent resource for fast-paced content that will get you up to speed before your trip. Take a quick scroll through their lesson library to discover survival phrases and other must-knows before taking off.

Know About Japanese Taboos

Sushi

There are entire articles (and books) written about navigating the nuances of Japanese culture, but here are a few major things to keep in mind while on your solo trip.

  • Take your shoes off when appropriate. This is especially common in homes but can be expected in public establishments as well.
  • Don’t talk on the phone while on public transportation.
  • Never stick chopsticks vertically (i.e stab) into your food, as this represents an offering to the dead.
  • Don’t point or gesture at people with just one finger.
  • Generally do your best to avoid loud and distasteful behavior in public. Japan is a place that prides itself on respect and order, so do your best to not stand out.
  • Tattoos are still associated with the nefarious underground culture of Japan, so err on the side of covering up anything that may be offensive.

Make Use of Exceptional Public Transportation

Transport

Public transportation in Japan is incredibly efficient and makes for an excellent solo travel experience. Japan Railways (JR Pass) is the public option that has routes all throughout the country, but you can also find private railway companies like Tobu, Meitetsu, Kintetsu, and Seibu.

Within the city centers, most people get around on subway lines. If you’re staying in Japan for a long period, consider purchasing a prepaid card ahead of time.

Always Carry Cash

Japanese Yen

For as advanced as Japanese society is, a surprising number of establishments still don’t accept credit cards. This has got better in recent years, but it’s still best to travel with a solid reserve of cash in case you get caught short.

Additionally, many ATM’s do not accept foreign bank cards. Consider bringing the cash you’ll need in your home currency and exchanging upon arrival (or doing so beforehand).

Where to Should Stay

Japanese House

For the solo traveler looking to link up with other friendly souls and adventure together, Japan has a great collection of hostels. They cater to the social crowd, they will help you organize tours, and they’ll be more affordable and allow you to stretch your budget.

If you’re looking for an authentic experience, consider booking a room in a traditional ryokan. Ryokans are Japanese-style inns found throughout the country, but commonly near hot spring (onsen) resorts. They usually incorporate elements such as tatami floors, futon beds, modern baths, and plenty of pillows.

Get Outdoors

Mount Fuji

Speaking of hot springs, one of the best things to do as a solo traveler in Japan is to explore the country’s illustrious collection of parks and natural treasures. Stunning mountains, dense bamboo forests, bucolic countrysides, and colorful springtime flowers.

Some of the most amazing outdoor experiences you can have in Japan include skiing on mountains with more snow than anywhere in the world, hiking through the Oirase National Park, dropping into waterfalls in Minakami, white water rafting at Okutama, and diving at Izu and the Ogasawara Islands. If you’re visiting during the winter months, check out Christmas in Japan: How to Celebrate the Holidays in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Get a SIM Card or Pocket WiFi

Pocket WiFi

Before setting off, be sure to establish a plan of action for communication. One route is to go with your local carrier’s travel package, but those can sometimes be quite pricey. Mobal is the most popular option for a SIM card, and the prices are fairly reasonable.

Another option is to rent or buy a pocket WiFi. Free WiFi in Japan is still fairly rare, so the safest bet (especially as a solo traveler) will be to always have a WiFi connection on the go. There are services that will allow you to pick up your device (a small rectangle about the size of your phone) at the airport upon arrival, or have it delivered to your hotel room.

Pack Light

Kyoto

As a solo traveler, you won’t have anyone else with you to share the load of your possessions, so packing light is a must. It’s definitely on the list of What You Should Know as a First-Time Solo Traveler, and in Japan it especially makes sense. Storing your luggage on trains, planes, and automobiles becomes that much less of an ordeal, and will allow you to move around with your hands-free. You should also be sure to make use of your accommodation’s lockers and safes if they are available.

Writer Dillon is a travel-hungry outdoor enthusiast originally from Encinitas, California. He recently moved to Medellín to begin his next chapter as a content writer for AllTheRooms, the world’s first vacation rental search engine. Besides writing, Dillon enjoys live music, fútbol, cooking, and backpacking.

What is JLPT?

What is JLPT?

If you have been studying Japanese for any length of time, you might have heard of the JLPT or Japanese Language Proficiency Test. Organized by Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES), a semi-governmental organization, it has kind of become the standard way of measuring one’s Japanese level, at least in terms of their passive language skills (listening and reading).

Japanese learners sometimes use it to find weak points when studying Japanese. And the higher levels of the test can be used to qualify you for jobs and can even earn you points toward a special permanent residency. Even if you currently don’t have plans to work in Japan, knowing about the different levels of the test can help you organize your studies and choose books and resources that match your level.

Since the test was revised in 2010, there have been 5 levels to the JLPT – N5, N4, N3, N2 and N1 with N5 being the easiest. The test leans more heavily toward grammar than vocabulary, so you’ll learn most of the grammar you use on a daily basis with the first two tests, but most of the vocabulary you need to use the language by the N2 level.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit. Let’s go over each level one by one.

Test

JLPT N5

The N5 gives you a good start to the language. It covers around 600 words, 100 kanji and around 100 grammar points. At this level, you will learn mostly about the building blocks of Japanese grammar – particles. Particles mark all the different parts of the sentence that you are familiar with (the object, the location of something, etc…) as well as some that you are not familiar with like the topic and the subject, which are two important concepts that you will need to understand to use Japanese well.

What it can be used for

The N5 is a good show of achievement and interest in the language. It is worth putting on a resume, but it probably won’t qualify you for a job. Many people study and prepare for this test, but don’t actually take it, instead choosing to take a few practice tests to check their level. If you are looking to save some money and time, it might be worth skipping this one on your way to N4 or a higher level.

Conversation

JLPT N4

The N4 covers most of the grammar that you need to survive in a Japanese conversation. Truthfully, if you never learned another grammar point after this level, you could probably get around just fine in Japan and understand the grammar used in most conversations. The amount of vocabulary, around 2000 words, falls short of what you will need to be truly fluent though.

You will also need to know around 300 kanji, which is still not enough to help you read a newspaper, but might be enough for you to understand the main idea of a few blog articles.

What it can be used for

The N4 could help you with a job outside of Japan that doesn’t require Japanese but would be helpful if you had some background. If you are not interested in working and living in Japan, this is where a lot of people stop because you have enough comprehension skills and grammar to survive in most conversations. You will still need to learn more vocabulary and kanji, but you are at a pretty comfortable level with the language.

Reading

JLPT N3

At the N3, you’ll be forced to start increasing your reading speed and comprehension. A lot of the grammar points introduced at this level are more advanced phrases and expressions as well as things used mostly in reading or prepared speaking. It covers around 5000 words and 600 kanji.

The main purpose of this test is to bridge the gap between N4, which covers a lot of common use grammar and N2 which starts to cover lesser used grammar. Also, it will help you gauge how much you know and understand the vocabulary and kanji you need for N2.

What it can be used for

It can be used outside of Japan in a job that requires some basic use of Japanese that doesn’t exactly require real-time comprehension, like email communications. A lot of companies in Southeast Asia or India that work with Japanese companies might only need a N3 if you can back it up with good conversation skills.

Reading

JLPT N2

The N2 gives you most of the grammar you will need to use and understand written and spoken Japanese – around 10,000 words, and 1000 of the most used kanji. Once you’ve passed N2, you should be able to read most native materials with varying degrees of comprehension. You still might only be able to understand the main idea of a newspaper article. But most of the details of young adult novels, advertisements, common notices, and the like should be easy to understand.

In truth, passing the N2 will give you all of the skills you need to eventually deal with most situations in Japan. You will still need a few months to adjust to anything new before working smoothly, but most people will be able to survive.

What it can be used for

The N2 can get a good number of jobs in Japan. If you have good conversation skills, this is realistically all you need to work in Japan. Most companies outside of Japan will accept this as well. Nothing beats N1 of course, but the N2 will do in most situations. You still might not qualify for some highly competitive ‘listed’ jobs, but if you network and meet people, there are plenty of opportunities to be had.

JLPT N1

The king of them all. Although there are grammar points covered at this level, half of the grammar questions are more focused on nuances that are difficult if not impossible to specifically study for. A lot of the study guides and books for this level will give you a decent idea of what this test is like, but you will need regular exposure to native-level material in order to pass.

After passing this test, you will have very strong reading and listening skills. The test forces you to learn good, fast note-taking skills for listening and good skimming and scanning reading skills, which will come in handy at a job that requires a good amount of reading and listening.

What it can be used for

The N1 qualifies you for pretty much any job in Japan. It can also be used to qualify for a special visa that has more perks than a simple permanent residency. It will open a lot of doors for you.

Keep in mind that the time it takes to go from zero Japanese to N2 is about the same amount of time it takes to go from N2 to N1 depending on your background. With that big of an investment in time, it might be worth it to get any job that uses Japanese and learn on the job and spend your study time on another skill or even another language.

Overall

The JLPT is a great way to measure your level as you study Japanese. Even if you don’t sit the test, taking the practice tests and preparing for it will greatly improve your reading and listening skills. Personally, I was never a very good note-taker, even in English. But, studying and preparing for the N2 and N1 really helped improve those skills for me.

If you are getting ready to take the N5, be sure to pick up my JLPT Study Guide for that level. It covers all the grammar, reading, and listening practice you’ll need. And when you are finished you can test your level with the 3 included practice tests.

JapanesePod101 has a lot of great Japanese courses that focus on some of the harder things to listen for on the JLPT that helped prepare me for N3.

For information about the JLPT, stop by JLPTBootCamp.

October in Japan: The Weather, What to Wear, and What to Do

Are you planning to visit Japan in October? The very hot summer and typhoon season ends in September, and October is a great season for traveling to Japan with the perfect weather and beautiful attractions.

October is also a harvest season and there are many delicious foods to be enjoyed at harvest festivals all over Japan. Wondering where to see autumn colors in Japan? In northern areas such as the Hokkaido and Tohoku area, mountains start to turn red and yellow, the result of the beautiful autumn leaves.

In this article, JapanesePod101 introduces fun events and what to see on your trip to Japan in October. We’ll help you enjoy your trip with our culture and language learning materials! Here you’ll find everything you need to know about visiting Japan in autumn: things to bring to Japan in autumn, when to go hiking in Japan, and even about its fall festivals.

1. Holidays in October

There’s a holiday called Sports Day or 体育の日(Taiiku no Hi) in October. It’s on the second Monday of the month, and is a memorial day for the Tokyo Olympic Games held in 1964, which was the first Olympic Games in Asia. Many sports events are held on this day.

Since this holiday is one of the Happy Monday System holidays, and becomes a three-day holiday with the weekend, many people choose to celebrate by going on small trips. Hotels tend to be crowded and airplane tickets more expensive. Be sure to plan ahead of time if you want to travel to Japan during this three-day holiday.

If you need more information on Sports Day or are interested in Japanese holidays, please check out our “Guide of Japanese National Holidays in 2018: How to Celebrate?”

2. Japan Weather in October

Japan Weather in October

1- Sunset Time in Japan During October

The days start to get shorter in October. The sunset time is usually around five o’clock pm. This said, take note that daytime in Hokkaido is a little shorter than it is in other areas.

2- Weather and Temperature

October is a great season for traveling. The hot season has ended and, usually, temperatures become mild and pleasant. Also, the typhoon season starts coming to a close in September, and there are fewer rainy days in October. In particular, daytime temperatures and the temperatures of southern areas are nice.

However, you need to be careful about the weather and temperatures in October, because sometimes it’s unpredictable. It depends on the year and areas, where sometimes it gets cold and other times it gets very hot.

In October, the temperature difference between the north and south is quite extreme. Sometimes it snows in the northern areas of Hokkaido. In 2016, there was first snow in Asahikawa, the northern city in Hokkaido, in October and it remained without melting until next spring. So if you’re planning on going to Hokkaido, you need to be ready for snow. On the other hand, in southern areas such as Okinawa, it tends to be hot during the daytime.

You also need to be aware of temperature differences in daytime and nighttime. At nighttime, it tends to be cool—so be prepared for it to get a little chilly during your nightly strolls.

3- Weather in Sapporo, Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukuoka, and Okinawa

Here, let’s look at the weather and temperatures in each area.

Sapporo, Hokkaido Weather in October

The summer is completely gone and ready for winter in Sapporo. The temperatures get colder day by day and the average temperatures fall down to 9.7°C (49.5°F) at the end of October. Further, the end of October usually holds the first snow. However, on sunny days, you can still enjoy sightseeing and activities.

  • Average temperature:11.8°C (53.2°F)
  • Highest temperature:16.2°C (61.2°F)
  • Minimum temperature:7.5°C (45.5°F)

Tokyo Weather in October

The summer is gone but it’s still hot on sunny days. Sometimes, it might feel as though summer is really just dragging on. On the other hand, it’s cool in the morning and at night. You need to be ready for those differences in temperature when visiting Tokyo in October.

  • Average temperature:19.2°C (66.6°F)
  • Highest temperature:23.0°C (73.4°F)
  • Minimum temperature:16.1°C (61.0°F)

Tokyo Weather In October

Kyoto Weather in October

The city of Kyoto is in a basin and the temperature difference between day and night is extreme. In early October, it sometimes gets higher than 30.0°C (86.0°F) during the day, but goes down to around 10.0°C (50.0°F) during the night. In particular, you need to be careful about the minimum temperatures at the end of October. It usually gets down to around 5.0°C (41.0°F), and it gets colder than in Tokyo.

  • Average temperature:17.8°C (64.0°F)
  • Highest temperature:22.9°C (73.2°F)
  • Minimum temperature:13.6°C (56.5°F)

Hakata, Fukuoka Weather in October

On a sunny day it’s warm, but there are also cool days in October. The difference between the highest temperature and the minimum temperature is extreme. You need to be ready for both summer weather and cool fall weather.

  • Average temperature:18.9°C (66.0°F)
  • Highest temperature:29.2°C (84.6°F)
  • Minimum temperature:11.3°C (52.3°F)

Naha, Okinawa Weather in October

Okinawa is still hot in October and the weather is like early summer. Especially in the daytime, when it usually gets to nearly 30.0°C (86.0°F) . Okinawa especially has strong typhoon influence in summer, but it usually ends by September. There are less rainy days in October, making it the perfect weather for sightseeing.

  • Average temperature:25.2°C (77.4°F)
  • Highest temperature:27.9°C (82.2°F)
  • Minimum temperature:23.1°C (73.6°F)

4- What to Wear?

Full-length pants are recommended since they’re flexible and can be worn no matter the weather you encounter. For upper clothes, wear layers so that you’ll be ready for both warm and cold weather. In some places such as the Kyoto, Tohoku area and Hokkaido area, you might want to bring winter coats with you. Japan in autumn can certainly bring a mix of weather conditions!

3. Seasonal Foods

Seasonal Foods

Since October is the harvest season, there are many kinds of seasonal foods. Here are some examples of seasonal food you should try in October.

  • ぶどう (budō) or grapes
  • 栗 (kuri) or chestnut
  • 柿 (kaki) or persimmon
  • かぼちゃ (kabocha) or pumpkin
  • かつお (katsuo) or bonitos
  • さんま (sanma) or saury
  • さば (saba) or mackerel
  • 松茸 (matsutake) or matsutake mushroom

During the harvest season of chestnuts and grapes, there are some farms that offer chestnut gathering and grape collecting. These are fun activities, especially recommended if you’re with your friends or family.

4. Events and What to See

1- Food Festivals

Food Festivals

Food festivals are one of the most prominent and delicious types of October activities in Japan. October is harvest season, so it’s a great season for eating. There’s a popular Japanese phrase “Autumn’s Appetite” or 食欲の秋 (shokuyoku no aki).

Many food festivals are held throughout Japan to celebrate the new harvest. There are many kinds of food festivals. For example, Ramen Show is one of the most popular food festivals. There are also beer festivals, oyster festivals, BBQ festivals, and so on.

Octoberfest

Also, Oktoberfest, originally held in Germany, is becoming popular in Japan. If you’re a great beer drinker, Oktoberfest is a perfect event for you. You can enjoy drinking German beer with delicious German food such as sausages. There’s a big Oktoberfest held in Sapporo, which is a sister city of Munich, Germany, where the biggest Oktoberfest in Germany is held.

Hokkaido Food Festival in Tokyo

Hokkaido Food Festival In Tokyo

Although there aren’t many farms in Tokyo, many fresh and delicious foods are brought together here from all over Japan, and various food events are held in Tokyo.

One of the most popular food events in October is Hokkaido Food Festivals in Yoyogi Park. There are about 100 food stalls and about 400-thousand people visit each year. You can enjoy various Hokkaido foods, such as ramen noodles, fresh seafood, fresh vegetables, and meat. You can also try local craft beer, too. It’s usually held for four days, and in 2018 it’ll be from October 5 to 8.

2- Autumn Leaves

Autum Leaves

In October, trees start to turn red and yellow in northern areas such as Hokkaido and Tohoku. Since more than 70% of Japan’s land is mountains, autumn leaves are quite a special autumn feature.

The view is beautiful and amazing. We recommend going to see autumn leaves, especially if you don’t have autumn leaves around where you live. The peak season of each area is very short, so the more popular spots tend to be very crowded. Some mountains have only one or two roads leading to viewing sites, so it might be better to visit on a weekday if it’s possible.

Here’s a list of some of the best places to see fall colors in Japan:

  • 定山渓 (Jōzankei) in Hokkaido
  • 洞爺湖 (Tōyako) or Toya Lake in Hokkaido
  • 弘前公園 (Hirosaki kōen) or Hirosaki Park in Aomori
  • 抱返り渓谷 (Dakikaeri keikoku) in Akita

Toya Lake is a famous hot spring spot and you can also enjoy fireworks every night here around the end of October.

In Kanto areas, including Tokyo and south of the Kanto area, the peak of autumn leaves is in November. However, you still have a chance to see these color-changing beauties in more mountainous areas. For example, the peak season of 日光ひろは坂 (Nikkō hirohaa zaka) in Tochigi is around the middle of October.

3- Unique Autumn Festivals

Some of the most exciting events in October are autumn festivals. Many unique autumn festivals are held throughout Japan. At these festivals, you can see Japanese traditions such as dances and sports. If you use SNS and want to take unique photos of Japan, these festivals are great photo opportunities.

Here are some recommended festivals in October.

Kawagoe Festival or 川越祭 (Kawagoe Matsuri)

Kawagoe Festival

Third weekend in October
Kawagoe-shi, Saitama

The Kawagoe Festival is an annual festival of Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine. It’s registered as a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property. The most attractive event of the festival is 曳っかわせ(hikkawase). People draw magnificent floats or 山車 (dashi) face each other and compete for traditional 囃子 (hayashi) dance, flute, and voice performances. Kawagoe is just outside of Tokyo, so if you visit Tokyo on this day, the festival might be one of the most exciting options for you. The hon-matsuri, which means “full festival” is held only once every two years.

Kurama Fire Festival or 鞍馬の火祭 (Kurama no Himatsuri)

Kurama Fire Festival

October 22
Kurama, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

The Krama Fire Festivals is one of the three major festivals in Kyoto. This festival is held to honor Yuki Shrine in Kurama Village. This is a very old festival which originated in the 10th century during the Heian period. Hundreds of people with flaming torches illuminate the mountain of Kurama and parade with 神輿 (mikoshi) or a portable shrine. The largest torches are as heavy as 100 kilograms or 220 pounds. It’s a very dynamic and exciting festival.

Nagasaki Kunchi or 長崎くんち (Nagasaki Kunchi) in Nagasaki

Nagasaki Kunchi

October 7 to October 9
Suwa-Jinja Shrine, Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki

Nagasaki Kunchi is an annual festival of Suwa Shrine and is also registered as a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property. It’s an old festival with a history of about 400 years. In the period of national isolation in the Edo era, the port of Nagasaki was a trading hub. Therefore, Nagasaki has a unique culture influenced by Portuguese, Dutch, and Chinese. During this festival, people draw colorfully painted festival cars and perform music and dances. There are also Chinese-influenced dragon dances and western-style ship-shaped festival cars.

Halloween on October 31

The celebration of Halloween is relatively new in Japan and it has become bigger and bigger over the past two decades. However, Japanese Halloween isn’t like a traditional Halloween party in western culture, and trick-or-treating isn’t popular in Japan.

Halloween is more like a big cosplay party, and for many Japanese people, it’s a chance to wear unique costumes once a year. People dress up and go to parades held in the city or events held at nightclubs or theme parks. The downtown areas of big cities become crowded with costumed people. The biggest Halloween parade is held in Shibuya, Tokyo.

There are people wearing horrible costumes, such as witches, ghosts, and zombies. However, for Japanese people, the meaning of Halloween isn’t very important and many people wear fun costumes instead, such as characters of comics or animes. So if you enjoy Japanese animes, we’re going to bet that you’ll really enjoy the Japanese Halloween celebration.

5. Conclusion

October is a great season for traveling to Japan. There are many fun and unique festivals, both traditional and modern. When you plan for your trip to Japan in October, don’t forget to check the dates of those festivals.

You need to be prepared for temperature differences and wear layers in October. In many areas, it’s warm and pleasant weather during the day. So enjoy beautiful autumn leaves, delicious seasonal foods, and fun festivals in October!

August in Japan: Don’t Miss Fun Activities and Events

Are you planning to travel to Japan in August? It’s in the height of summer and very hot across Japan, though it’s also the best season for traveling.

In August, there are many fun events to look forward to such as summer festivals and firework displays. August is also a great month for outdoor activities like going to the beach, participating in water activities in Japan’s rivers, and hiking.

Table of Contents

  1. Weather in August
  2. What to Wear in August
  3. Summer Festivals
  4. Firework Displays
  5. Wearing Yukata
  6. Hiking and Mountain Climbing
  7. Beaches and Water Activities at Rivers
  8. Flower Fields
  9. Conclusion

August is one of the peak seasons for traveling in Japan, but in order to get the most out of it, you need to plan earlier. One thing to keep in mind is that Japanese students have summer vacation from July to August.

Also, there is お盆休み; おぼんやすみ (obon yasumi) or the “Obon holiday” in August, for which people go back to their hometown and visit their parents. The Obon holiday is usually from the 13th to the 15th. Some people take their summer holiday with the Obon holiday, so that it can last a little longer.

In this article, I’ll introduce you to things to do in Japan during August. I’ll also explain what the weather in August is like so that you can better prepare yourself in advance. Here you’ll find some of the best ideas for your fun trip to Japan in August.

Traveling

1. Weather in August

It’s very hot and humid in Japan during the month of August. The average temperature in August is around 26 to 28 degrees Celsius (78.8 to 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit). In many places, it even gets higher than 30 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day—and it gets higher still than 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) in a few places.

Since Japan is long from north to south, there are differences between the weather in each of these two sections of Japan. The northe
areas—such as Hokkaido—are less hot. However, in early August, it sometimes gets higher than 30 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit).

Of course, the southe
areas, such as Okinawa, are hotter. Further, big cities like Tokyo and Osaka tend to be hot and humid, and so many buildings use air conditioners. So you have to be ready for the heat no matter where you visit in Japan during August.

The average temperatures of popular sightseeing areas are as follows:

  • Sapporo, Hokkaido: 22 to 23 degrees C (71.6 to 73.4 degrees F)
  • Sendai, Miyagi: 24 to 26 degrees C (75.2 to 78.8 degrees F)
  • Tokyo: 27 to 29 degrees C (80.6 to 84.2 degrees F)
  • Kyoto: 28 to 29 degrees C (82.4 to 84.2 degrees F)
  • Hakata, Fukuoka: 27 to 30 C (80.6 to 86 degrees F)
  • Naha, Okinawa: 28 to 30 C (82.4 to 86 degrees F)

Typhoons

In August, you should be careful about 台風,たいふう (Taifū) or “typhoons.” A typhoon is basically the same thing as a hurricane, but it occurs in the northe
Pacific.

Typhoon

Typhoons are very dangerous. Unfortunately, if a typhoon hits where you are during travel, you’ll have to stay inside of a building. When a typhoon comes, many domestic air flights get cancelled as well. Sometimes, a typhoon can cause Japan to get rain for up to a week!

You should be especially careful if you go to a southe
area like Okinawa, Kyushu, or Shikoku. Typhoons tend to get weak as they move north, and usually don’t hit the northe
parts, such as Hokkaido.

Summer Clothes

2. What to Wear in August

Since it’s very hot in Japan during August, I recommend you wear T-shirts or short-sleeved shirts. But keep in mind that you have to be careful when visiting a sacred place such as a shrine or temple, meaning especially that you shouldn’t wear sleeveless. Most religious places aren’t too strict about casual clothing, but sleeveless might be too casual for most.

3. Summer Festivals

In August, there are many summer festivals across Japan. In Japanese, summer festivals are called 夏祭り; なつまつり (natsumaturi). 夏; なつ (Natsu) means “summer” and 祭り; まつり (matsuri) means “a festival.”

1- Types of Festivals

Summer festivals were originally Shinto’s (神道; しんとう) religious events and most 神社; じんじゃ (Jinjya) or “Shinto shrines” have summer festivals. Each religious summer festival has meaning. For example, people pray for a bumper crop at some summer festivals.

Summer Festivals

At some festivals, you can see mikoshi (神輿; みこし). Mikoshi is a portable shrine and is a carriage for gods. People carry the mikoshi and walk streets, while yelling “Wasshoi, Wasshoi,” which can be a little overwhelming. The word Wasshoi (わっしょい) is just a word for shouting, and most Japanese people don’t know the meaning. There are several theories about the origin of this word. Some say that 和; わ (Wa) means “Japan” and しょい (Shoi) means “to carry.” This would make it mean “to carry the future of Japan.”

Today, there are many non-religious summer festivals, too. For example, there are many food festivals, during which you can enjoy the various local foods. Also, many young people enjoy summer music festivals.

2- Japanese Festival Foods and Activities

Foods:

At most summer festivals, there are many 出店; でみせ (demise) or “food stalls” so that you can enjoy walking around and trying various festival foods. You might be surprised by the crowd around demise; at some big festivals, it’s hard to even walk because of the crowd.

Japanese Food Stalls

There are many kinds of food at demise. Popular foods include:

  • 焼きそば; やきそば (yakisoba) — “stir-fried noodles with vegetables and meat”
  • 焼き鳥; やきとり (yakitori) — “Japanese style skewered chickens”
  • たこ焼き; たこやき (takoyaki) — “octopus dumplings”

I also recommend traditional festival food such as:

  • わたあめ (wataame) — “cotton candy”
  • りんごあめ (ringoame) — “candy apples”
  • かき氷; かきごおり (kakigori) — “shaved ice”

Activities:

At most festivals, there are no chairs or tables to eat on. People typically buy their food and eat around demise, which also has some activities for children such as:

  • ヨーヨー釣り; よーよーつり (Yōyō-tsuri) — “water balloon fishing”
  • 金魚釣り; きんぎょつり (Kingyo-tsuri) — “goldfish scooping game”
  • 射的; しゃてき (Shateki) — “shooting game”
  • くじ引き; くじびき (Kujibiki) — “lottery stall”

3- Festival Recommendations

If you enjoy big summer festivals, I recommend the following as they are some of the largest summer festivals in Japan:

  • 青森ねぶた祭り; あおもりねぶたまつり (Aomorinebutamatsuri) — “Aomori’s Nebuta Matsuri”
  • 仙台七夕祭り; せんだいたなばたまつり (Sendaitanabatamatsuri) — “Sendai’s Tanabata Matsuri”
  • 秋田竿燈; あきたかんとう (Akita kantō) — “Akita Kantou”

These festivals are held in the Tohoku area, which is the north part of Honshu.

If you’re searching for summer festivals around Tokyo, I recommend:

  • 麻布十番納涼まつり; あざぶじゅうばんのうりょうなつまつり (Azabujūban’nōryōmatsuri) — “Azabu Juban Summer Night Festival”
  • 深川八幡祭り; ふかがわはちまんまつり (Fukagawa Hachiman matsuri) — “Fukagawa Hachiman Festival”
  • 浅草サンバカーニバル; あさくささんばかーにばる (Asakusa sanbakānibaru) — “Asakusa Samba Ca
    ival”

If you’re searching for summer festivals in the weste
area
, I recommend:

  • 京都五山送り火; きょうとござんおくりび (Kyōto gozan’okuribi) — “Kyoto’s Mountain Bon Fire”
  • よさこい祭り;よさこいまつり (Yosakoimatsuri) — “Kochi’s Yosakoi Festival”
  • 阿波おどり,あわおどり (Awa Odori) — “Tokushima’s Awaodori Dance”

4. Firework Displays

花火大会; はなびたいかい (Hanabi taikai) or “firework displays” are usually held in July and August. As one of Japan’s main summer features, there are many firework displays throughout Japan. Most foreign travelers are surprised by Japanese firework displays, despite the fact that they have firework displays in their own countries. This surprise is due to the fact that Japanese fireworks have a long history and developed uniquely.

More than ten-thousand fireworks are launched at the big firework display events. These usually take 1 to 2 hours. You can enjoy various firework displays, and most events are free to watch; however, keep in mind that you may be charged for a seat with a good view.

At most fireworks displays, you can also enjoy demise. Many people enjoy drinking chilled beer and eating various foods during the show.

Fireworks

If you’re searching for big firework displays in August, I recommend:

  • 大曲花火大会; おおまがりはなびたいかい (Ōmagari Hanabi taikai) — “National Fireworks Competition in Oomagari Akita”
  • 諏訪湖湖上花火大会; すわここじょうはなびたいかい (Suwako kojō Hanabi taikai) — “Nagano’s Lake Suwa Festival Fireworks Show on the Lake”
  • 洞爺湖ロングラン花火大会; とうやころんぐらんはなびたいかい (Tōyako-ko ronguran hanabi taikai) — “Lake Long-Run Fireworks”
  • At Lake Tayak-ko in Hokkaido you can enjoy firework displays every day during the season.

If you want to see firework displays around Tokyo in August, I recommend:

  • 江戸川区花火大会; えどがわくはなびたいかい — “Edogawa City Fireworks Festival”
  • あつぎ鮎まつり大花火大会; あつぎあゆまつりおおはなびたいかい — “Atsugi Ayu Fireworks Festival”
  • 八王子花火大会, はちおおじはなびたいかい (Hachiōji Hanabi taikai) — “Hachioji Fireworks Festival”

5. Wearing Yukata

Are you interested in Japanese traditional 着物; きもの or kimonos? If you visit Japan in August, you should try wearing a 浴衣; ゆかた or yukata. A yukata is a casual kind of kimono, and August is the best season to wear one. Many Japanese people wear it at summer festivals and firework displays.

Unlike normal kimonos, there are many inexpensive yukatas. Some yukatas are sold from about three-thousand yen at the cheapest. Also, there are rental yukata shops in big cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. If you go there, they’ll dress you in a yukata.

6. Hiking and Mountain Climbing

August is also a great time of year for hiking and mountain climbing. Mountain climbing is a good way to get away from the summer heat.

During this season, there are many hiking tours throughout Japan. I recommend hiking tours on:

  • 知床国立公園; しれとここくりつこうえん (Shiretoko kokuritsu kōen) — “Shiretoko National Park” in Hokkaido
  • 屋久島; やくしま (Yakusima) — “Yakushima” in Kagoshima

The places listed above are World Heritage sites.

If you want to climb a mountain, I recommend Mt. Fuji, as it’s the highest mountain in Japan and is one of the symbols of Japan.

7. Beaches and Water Activities at Rivers

August is also the best month for beaches and water activities at rivers.

1- Beaches

You can swim on most beaches in Japan in August. The beaches in Okinawa and the small islands of Kagoshima are particularly beautiful. But do keep in mind that after the Obon holiday, beaches in the northe
Tohoku and Hokkaido areas might be too cold.

If you’re searching for beaches, I recommend:

  • サンビーチ (Sanbīchi) — “Sun Beach” in Atami Shizuoka
  • 宜野湾トロピカルビーチ; ぎのわんとろぴかるびーち (Ginowan toropikarubīchi) — “Ginowan Tropical Beach” in Okinawa

Atami, near Tokyo, is a wonderful place to enjoy hot springs. Also, Okinawa is very south and quite a ways from Tokyo, but the beach is absolutely beautiful.

Rafting

2- Water Activities at Rivers

You can also enjoy water activities on rivers throughout Japan in August. You can go away from high heat in August and enjoy the beautiful nature of Japan.

There are many things to do in rivers on this season. For example, you can enjoy rafting, canoeing, kayaking, and canyoning. There are many tours that you can enjoy these fun activities. At the most tour, you don’t have to prepare anything, but you can just go there and have fun.

Especially I recommend, river activities in Niseko (ニセコ) in Hokkaido. Niseko is the very popular sightseeing spot for foreigners and you can enjoy many more activities there. If you want to do water activities in Tokyo, Okutama is a good place.

Sun Flower

8. Flower Fields

If you like flowers or gardens, you can enjoy flower fields in August. There are many beautiful flower fields for you to see, especially in Hokkaido, the northe
island of Japan.

One of the most famous flower gardens is a lavender garden in Furano, Hokkaido. The most famous lavender field in Japan is ファーム富田; ふぁーむとみた (Famu Tomita) or “Farm Tomita.” Many foreign people visit this farm—even the 天皇; てんのう (Tenno) or “Emperor” of Japan himself has visited this farm.

Unfortunately, the peak season of lavender is in July and it’s a little late in August. But if you visit in early August, you still have a chance to see huge, beautiful purple flower fields. Don’t worry! Even if you visit in mid- or late-August, there are many other beautiful flowers to enjoy.

There are also many other flower fields near Farm Tomita that you’re sure to enjoy.

Other recommendations:

  • ひまわり畑; ひまわりばたけ (Himawari batake) — “Sun Flower Field: Himawari-Batake” in Gunma
  • 山中湖花の都公園; やまなかこはなのみやここうえん (Yamanakako Hananomiyako Koen) — “Yamanakako Hananomiyako Flower” in Yamanashi, near Mt. Fuji
  • 京都府立植物園; 京都府立植物園 (Kyotofuritsu syokubutsuen) — “Kyoto Botanical Garden”

Conclusion

If you go to Japan in August, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the experience. It’s very hot, but there are many fun activities and events.

Particularly, I recommend summer festivals and firework displays. At those events, you can enjoy traditional aspects of Japanese culture such as yukatas and various demise. If you want to enjoy the beautiful nature of Japan, August is one of the bests months to do so. You can also enjoy flower fields and summer foods.

Don’t forget to plan your trip ahead of time because many people travel during this season. That way, you can get tickets at far better prices, especially on weekends and August holidays when it becomes hard to reserve air tickets. So start searching for tickets as early as possible. I hope you have a great experience in Japan.

Teru Teru Bozu: How to Stop the Rain in Japan

If you have a plan to travel, or go on a date, you don’t want it to be rainy. But what if the weather forecast said that it will rain? You will be very disappointed. But you still have hope!

The Japanese sunshine lucky charm, Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu), will help you to pray for nice weather. It’s a cute doll made out of white tissue paper, which looks like a Halloween ghost. In Japan, people believe that if they hang Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu), it will be sunny the next day. Japanese children make them for their special school events like field trips to have good weather.

Here you can discover Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu), how to make the doll, and the right way to pray to get sunshine. I will also explain the meaning of the word and its history.

Rainy Day

1.What is Teru Teru Bozu?

If you translate Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) literally, teru(てる or 照る) means “shine” or “to be sunny” and bozu (坊主) means “Buddhist monk.” So it means “shine shine monk.” It’s a funny name, isn’t it?

Why is Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) called a Buddhist monk? Since Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) doesn’t have hair on his head it looks like a monk’s shaved head. But there’s more important reason.

Japanese Buddhist monks played roles as rainmakers in olden times. When people suffered from want of rain, emperors(天皇; Ten’nō) or shogun(将軍; Shōgun) ordered Buddhist monks to pray for rain. Buddhist monks also prayed to stop floods. Actually, there are many legends in which high Buddhist priests succeed in controlling rain.

The Origin

2. The Origin

The origin of Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) isn’t clear. But it’s said that the custom might have come from China. In China, there was a custom to pray for good weather by using a cut paper (切り紙; kirigami) doll. The doll is a girl who has a broom called So-Chin-Nyan (掃晴娘) in Chinese. If you wish for good weather, she will sweep the clouds out. This is considered the origin of Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu). In the Edo(江戸; Edo) period of Japan, people made Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) from origami(折り紙i) paper. The shape was more like a human. So it was more like So-Chin-Nyan in China. You can’t find the custom in modern China, but Japanese people still use it in their daily lives.

How to Make Teru Teru Bozu

3. How to Make Teru Teru Bozu

To make Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu), you need tissue paper and a rubber band. You can also use white cloth or a paper towel instead of tissue paper.

Here is a very simple way to make Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu)

  1. Crumple some pieces of tissue paper and make a small ball. The size of the ball should be bigger than a ping-pong ball.
  2. Put the ball on the center of another piece of tissue paper and wrap it.
  3. Tie it with a rubber band just under the ball. If you want to make cute Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu), you can use ribbon or wool to tie it instead of arubber band.

That is it! Isn’t it so easy?

Today, most people draw a smiley face before they hang it. But if you want to do it the right way, don’t draw his face. Draw the face after you get a good result. It’s because if the ink runs, the face would look sad and that causes rain.

Pray for Good Weather

4. How to Pray for Good Weather in Japan

To get a good result, it’s important to know the traditional right way. Hang Teru Teru Bozu (てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) in front of the window. It should be outside. The best timing to hang one is a day before the day you don’t want rain. Be careful not hang it upside down because it means you want it to rain. After you hang it, you can sing the Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) song to pray for good weather. The song is very popular among Japanese children.

The song of Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu)

Japanese:
てるてるぼうず、てるぼうず(Teru-teru-bōzu, teru bozu)
明日天気にしておくれ (Ashita tenki ni shite o-kure)
いつかの夢の空のように(tsuka no yume no sora no yō ni)
晴れたら金の鈴あげよ (Haretara kin no suzu ageyo)

Translation:
Teru teru bozu, teru bozu
Tomorrow, make a sunny day
Like the sky in a dream sometime
If it’s sunny I’ll give you a golden bell

If Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) make your wish come true, draw a smiley face and give him sake(酒; sake) or another type of alcohol. It’s the traditional way to say “thank you” to him. In olden times, people used to float Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) down a river. They thought that he had a soul. But now we can’t do it because of environmental reasons. So you can just throw it in the garbage.

Of course, it sometimes works but sometime doesn’t. However, Teru Teru Bozu(てるてる坊主; Teruterubōzu) is cute and it’s fun to make with friends. Why don’t you make one for your special events?

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Study Time

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    The Lesson Library

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    Video Podcast

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    Classic Mode

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    Online Kanji Dictionary

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Countryside in Japan